Sun, January 26, 2003
Television exec planning network to service Ontario's Niagara region
HAMILTON (CP) - A television executive who put the SCTV comedy show on the air in the United States and who launched a Christian station in Burlington, Ont., now wants to locate a television network in the Niagara region.
Wendell Wilks, chief executive of TVN Niagara Inc., filed an application 10 days ago to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to bring movies and community coverage to viewers in Welland, Ont., St. Catharines, Ont., and Niagara Falls, Ont.
The station would employ 77 technicians and reporters for programs that include a live morning show beamed from the brink of the falls.
Independently produced shows on topics such as gardening and wine-country tourism would break up a main diet of classic movies.
TVN is negotiating with Brock University to locate a 100,000-watt transmitter on top of the campus office tower. The broad reach provided by such a transmitter would oblige cable distributors in the region to hand over one of the premium 2 to 13 channels on the dial, Wilks said.
The CRTC is reviewing the TVN application and has yet to determine whether to invite other competing bids.
Likely to follow is a round of hearings similar to those held two years ago over a Torstar Corp. bid to launch community TV stations in Hamilton, Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto, where the company operates daily newspapers.
If successful in landing Niagara TV, Wilks said he would turn to other Ontario communities that don't have stations.
Listen to TVN's CEO Wendell Wilks on a radio interview from CHSC.
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